If you take one thing away from Dune’s latest EP it’ll probably be this: these guys fucking love sci-fi. Following up on their excellent debut album Progenitor, this concept-record tells the story of a “rescue mission gone wrong” and apparently explores the “potential consequence of travelling at relativistic speed”. So far so nerdy, but what else would you expect of a band that take their name from Frank Herbert’s seminal series of novels (that aborted launch-vehicle for Sting’s film career is best forgotten about…)?
Despite doing nothing for the stereotype of Scots as raving Star Trek geeks (it’s a cross we all must bear), the Edinburgh-based quartet are nevertheless defying a whole bunch of expectations with this EP. Despite coming in at just over 12 minutes long, the material here is at once darker and more experimental than any of the songs on Progenitor. Branching out from their old sludge sound, the band’s website details new influences as crust, doom and black metal, and it certainly shows. The production is rawer, the riffs more frenetic and bleak than anything they have done before, and while classic influences such as Isis and Mastodon still leave their mark (particularly in second track Of Blade And Carapace) this could definitely be seen as a new direction for the band.
All of which makes it a pity that there is just so little of it. With only two songs of near-standard length in this genre, this is merely a taster; hopefully to whet our appetites for something a little more substantial in the not-too-distant future. Dune are one of the most promising metal bands to come out of Scotland in some time, and such a short release – while certainly worth investing in – is almost as frustrating as it is enjoyable. Despite the obvious quality on show I left the record feeling more than a little dissatisfied, which should in no way be taken as a slight.
However, if you’re looking for some abstract, adventures-in-outer-space sludge to drown out the encroaching banality of Christmas music being blared from every shop and on every street corner, you will find fewer better diversions this month. Come the New Year, hopefully we will have some new announcements from a band hoping to follow up on their atmospheric and exciting new take on the genre.
Scribed by: Calum Darroch